When Kaia first joined her daycare, she was on the older end of the 12-18 month age range for her class, so we knew that just after a month in, she’d have to switch classes to join the 18-24 month class. This was sad because we really liked the main teacher of her first class. This teacher was really responsive to feedback and suggestions we had, and she seemed overall like an easy-going, well-intentioned teacher who is passionate about kids (she had five of her own!). And at this age, kids tend to get attached quickly. Asking them to adjust after just a month in seemed annoying, but it had to be done.
Now that Kaia has switched classes, the new main teacher seems fine, though it’s clear she has a chip on her shoulder and doesn’t like the previous teacher. When I asked the new teacher to make sure to serve veggies first to Kaia at lunch, then her protein/carbs, along with the request to potentially put feeding instructions on the fridge so that all teachers/floaters coming in and out could carry out the same instruction, as this is the process that worked in Kaia’s previous class, she seemed like she felt insulted. Her message back to me stated, “I appreciate all the feedback. However, I do run my class differently than (former teacher).” Lo and behold, the instructions weren’t followed the next day, and I had to call it out. It’s fine if you have different methods for communication, but I’m giving you a suggestion on what has worked, so if you choose another method, it would be best if you did not fail, which she did.
This new main teacher also has not been shy about giving a stink eye to Kaia’s former teacher when passing in the hallway, which I’ve personally observed. She and her assistant teachers have also been very territorial about having the former teacher float into their class when backup is needed. They’ve made comments like, “They’re not in your class anymore! They’re not yours! You shouldn’t be so attached to them; they’ve moved on! Let them transition into their new class and stop holding onto them.” The funny thing is: the reason they make comments like this is that the kids all love the former teacher. They run to her when she walks into the room; they want to follow her out of the room when she leaves. What’s really driving all the teacher politics here is 1) the other teachers’ jealousy and 2) the fact that the former teacher just has more passion for kids, frankly, that they do not have. Kids sense this, and they gravitate towards the adults they know care.
And I’ve noticed that amongst the assistant teachers in Kaia’s new class that they don’t really have an apparent passion for early childhood education: they’ve been on their phones scrolling through Instagram and Facebook. They do the bare minimum. They let the kids roam around on their own and don’t initiate any play in the multi-purpose room. During lunch, they don’t really assist in feeding or watching the kids; they’re doing their own thing. Kaia’s thrown her food on the floor twice this week, and they weren’t anywhere nearby to even prevent or stop this (yes, we can see it via the live camera). They’re there for the job and the pay check/benefits, not so much because they are passionate about kids… they’re not. So I’ve brought this up to the director of the program and plan on having more conversations about this. This daycare is relatively new, and they are not even close to being at capacity. They are hustling to get more kids enrolled with open houses, referral bonuses, etc. But if you have crappy teachers and assistant teachers, it’s unlikely any of the kids will stay enrolled that long, especially with the high fees that all these places are charging. It’s just sad that the level of care can change so much from one classroom to another, but then again, isn’t that school in general here in the U.S.?